Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Would you like to geta disease called hyperthymesia ?

The protagonists of popular movies like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Memento” are characters who are respectively desperate to forget or struggling to remember. The memories we keep and those we lose are central to our perception of ourselves.

No one understands that better than Jill Price, a 42-year-old school administrator from Los Angeles, who has perfect recall of nearly every day of her life.

The researchers called her condition “hyperthymestic syndrome,” or “hyperthymesia,” which essentially means superior autobiographical memory: “thymesia” means memory in Greek.
Over the years, researchers have entertained many theories about the source of Price's incredible memory. Some studies indicate that the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with executive function and decision making, is active when subjects are trying to suppress information. Not surprisingly, Price performed poorly on tests of these functions. A New Scientist article reviewing the Neurocase study speculates that “[Price] may be better at storing memories than most while also being worse at blocking their retrieval

Eidetic memory, photographic memory, or total recall is the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with extreme accuracy and in abundant volume. The word eidetic (pronounced /аɪˈdɛtɪk/) means related to extraordinarily detailed and vivid recall of visual images, and comes from the Greek word είδος (eidos), which means "form".Eidetic memory can have a very different meaning for memory experts who use the picture elicitation method to detect it. Eidetic memory as observed in children is typified by the ability of an individual to study an image for approximately 30 seconds, and maintain a nearly perfect photographic memory of that image for a short time once it has been removed—indeed such eidetikers claim to "see" the image on the blank canvas as vividly and in as perfect detail as if it were still there.

While many artists and composers such as Claude Monet and Mozart are commonly thought to have had eidetic memory, it is possible that their memories simply became highly trained in their respective fields of art, as they each devoted large portions of their waking hours towards the improvement of their abilities.


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